Muslim organisations said NRC is another ploy to divert public attention from the failures of the government on core issues and called upon people to reject such exercises.
NEW DELHI — Prominent Muslim groups on Friday announced that they will oppose the govt moves to extend the National Registry of Citizen (NRC) process across the country and introduction of the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
Reacting to the Union home minister Amit Shah’s statement on NRC, they said this was another ploy to divert attention of public from the failures of the present government and the serious economic downturn since 2014. They also said this was part of the ruling BJP’s “communal agenda.”
The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) said it will oppose the moves. In a statement, the JIH vice president Muhammad Salim Engineer said, “The Jamaat expresses its grave apprehensions over the announcement by the home minister that the NRC shall be implemented all over the country.” The Jamaat felt that this is an exercise in vain and a deliberate diversion of the priorities by the government to hide its “failures” on the economy and other core issues of welfare and development.
He said there were existing procedures and laws to detect foreigners or illegal immigrants, than introducing a new one and subjecting the 135 crore people into an ordeal. This would cause a huge financial burden on the exchequer, while the national economy was facing a deep crisis, he said.
The Jamaat also underlined the failure of the NRC exercise in Assam, saying nearly two million applicants were not included in the final list and the government “has no idea as to what to do with them.” It said the Assam NRC experience has “smashed the false propaganda of the size of the Bangladeshi infiltrators ranging from four to 12 million” and that the nation-wide NPR would only cause hardships to all the citizens, and more so to the minorities and marginalised communities.
“A huge portion of the Indian population is still illiterate, semi-illiterate, and live in villages and slums. They may not have documentary evidence. It will be a major harassment to them. If the government doubts the status of any citizen, it must prove that the citizen is not a legal resident, and not the other way round, wherein bonafide citizens of India are asked to prove their citizenship credentials with documentary evidence.”
People should not get panicky because of such political statements, but keep their identity papers updated.
The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) feels that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is against the spirit of the Indian Constitution and discriminatory in nature, as it proposed to grant citizenship only to Hindus. The Jamaat saw this as a part of the devious agenda of communal polarization, and hoped that the people will not fall prey to such divisive politics.
It said if the government insisted on a nation-wide NRC and pushed the CAB, then the Jamaat will organise protests. It urged the Opposition parties to play their role in Parliament and stop the passage of such bills. It alleged that “the NRC, in combination with CAB, is clear evidence of the government’s intention to harass a particular section of the population.”
Popular Front of India
Another Muslim group, the Popular Front of India, said there was not a single justifiable reason for preparing a National Register of Citizens, other than an attempt to divert public attention from the economic abyss the country has fallen in since 2014, when the Modi government first came to power. Front general secretary M Muhammed Ali Jinnah condemned the home minister’s statement. He said everybody knew what happened in Assam, where NRC literally became a collective punishment that lasted several months and wreaked havoc on the people of the state.
“Along with NRC, the government is also going ahead with the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which denies citizenship to Muslim refugees alone. This open discrimination based on religion constitutes a blatant attack on the Constitutional principles of secularism and equality before law. It also undermines the international laws against discrimination on the basis of religion. It is unfortunate that there is a general indifference and apathy towards such authoritarian moves in the country,” it said.
It concluded: “Not much questions were raised from the Opposition or other secular parties. The Popular Front calls upon the people to reject such exercises and put up a united struggle for saving the citizenship rights and Constitutional values of the country.”